With more than 3.27 million people now confirmed to have contracted coronavirus worldwide, here’s the news on the pandemic you may have missed overnight.
NHS England’s senior incident director for coronavirus, Professor Keith Willett, informed hundreds of NHS chiefs on Thursday in a private online briefing that there has been a “shift in the recognition” of the extent to which Covid-19 is spreading between patients and staff within care homes, The Independent revealed.
“The expectation is that for the next few weeks … those care homes will be the epicentres of transmission back into society and feeding the endemic problem that we will have going forward,” he said, adding that the proportion of care-home residents dying had increased from a quarter to 30 per cent.
He also warned the health service was still in a “precarious” situation and could go back to the heights of the coronavirus surge within weeks or even days.
His comments come amid growing criticism that the NHS may have introduced the virus into care homes earlier in the epidemic when homes were told they had to take Covid-19 patients from hospitals to help free up beds on wards. PHE has said that around a third of all homes are now affected – totalling more than 4,500.
Speaking at his first Downing Street briefing since being hospitalised with the virus, the prime minister came under fire for claiming his approach to the crisis had succeeded in “avoiding the tragedy” seen elsewhere in the world.
The latest death toll of 26,771 – up 674 in a day – puts the UK potentially on track to be the worst-hit nation in Europe.
Mr Johnson lauded Britain’s “massive collective effort” in averting “an uncontrollable and catastrophic epidemic where the reasonable worst case scenario was 500,000 deaths” – earning himself a rebuke from one Labour MP that he is living in a “fantasy land”.